I thought I would start the new month with a catch-up blog post. We have had such a busy week here as our eldest daughter Tam was staying. First of all, a busy Fleamarket on Sunday, then up early again to go to Malvern Fleamarket, which is SO huge it took us 7 hours to walk round it, and even then we abandoned the last hall (which is more up-market, they have electricity (!) and some beautiful things on offer). We spent quite a bit but got some real bargains, and Tam did well, buying two vintage tops by Biba and Laura Ashley (both Edwardian style blouses with lacey trims), a lovely art Nouveau enamelled belt buckle, a little 1970s butterfly and dried flowers display under a glass dome, and a beautifully-embroidered 1970s picture of a peacock and various floral motifs. As you can no doubt tell, she is her mother's daughter to the core!
I forgot my camera, so we used Tam's but I won't get those photos until next week, as she has gone home today and has a conference in London early in the week, so a busy time for her.
I took a couple of photos of my stuff when we got back though.
This is a beautiful Victorian hand-pieced throw, made from various velvets, in the Baby's Block pattern, which also doubles as stars. It is a little distressed, especially the brown pieces in the centre, but that is part of its history. It was £15 so I didn't feel too guilty. I felt that I HAD to bring it home with me.
This is one corner of a very skillfully worked embroidered tablecloth. Scabious, ferns, foxgloves and leaves - beautiful. I love embroidered pieces and wish I was as skilful as this lady had been. The colours are more intense in real life.
This little piece is an original Art Nouveau/Arts and Crafts piece of Calligraphy, and again, as I love to see something beautifully made, it now graces the Hall wall.
Another piece of Arts and Crafts craftsmanship. This is dated 1907, and "signed" inside the door. Every bit of the pattern is beautifully chiselled out, punched out, scored or carved. We saw it at the Sunday Fleamarket on a stall belonging to some friends of ours, and I just fell in love with it on first sight. We paid the going rate . . .
Mr M Protetheroe of Swansea, you are surely in Heaven now, but take a bow . . .
This is for our New House. Whenever that happens . . .
As I said, we have had a busy week. Yesterday we went back to Herefordshire, and just over the border into Gloucestershire, to view three houses. The top photo of this blog was taken in the Forest of Dean as we pulled off the road for a cup of tea and contemplation of the map, on route to the next house. There were several Redstarts flying about, and returning to the same branch each time. Fascinating to watch.
Whilst driving to the first house, we got caught up in holiday traffic (well, behind a caravan!) and to my horror, discovered that we had left the details of the first property at home - I had picked up a sheaf of what I thought were all the house details . . . but no. We had to phone the agent to say we'd be late, then when we got to the village near Ross-on-Wye, we couldn't find the property for sale as of course, we had no guidance instructions, so had to phone the agent again. It looked like it had once been a small Herefordshire longhouse and dated back to the 1700s (Grade II listed) and overlooked a sleepy river valley with Willows along the stream-bank.. The big kitchen had once been the milking parlour, but looking at the photo of it, I am sure it was the shippon end of a longhouse, as it was several feet lower. We were told the main part of the farmhouse was the upper part. I loved the old (neglected) plantings in the yard, which included a huge twisted Wisteria, in full bloom, and old roses in a tangle nearby. It had problems though - a neighbour's ancient falling-down barn was right in front of one end, and in the back garden, power cables ran across (and the poles were either side of the hedge). There would have been a lot of work to do inside the house too, to upgrade it.
The next property was perfect. I can't think of it without a sad smile (THAT one won't hang around for us I'm sure). I won't tempt fate by saying any more about it, but if we sold tomorrow . . .
We cut cross-country, near Hoarwithy, to reach the final property. I just HAD to stop and take photos when I came across this pond bedecked with Flag Irises along the way. I could just imagine dairy Shorthorn cows keeping cool in here in the height of summer a hundred years ago . . .
Ones a bit like some of these in fact. This was the scene just by the little cottage we viewed last. Sadly it was too little, and had no outside room for my husband and his bits of wood - a garden shed was NOT workshop-sized as mentioned in the details, and there seemed to be some confusion over the remains of an old cider barn which we assumed was also on the property but must have originally formed part of the cottage. It was pleasant. The setting was stunning. Just stunning. You could go back a thousand years or more and still see the Saxon and Medieval homesteads in their same setting, just with a later house. Lots of cider apple orchards and mistletoe.
We drove across a little common to get there. Magical. Like stepping back in time.